Per Petterson: Out Stealing Horses: A Novel
I was totally amazed by this book. It is beautifully told and serene and then there are these shocking moments of violence that literally make me gasp out loud.
Muriel Barbery: The Elegance of the Hedgehog
A thoughtful and elegant novel about a precocious girl and a building concierge. I loved these characters and would have read about them for MUCH longer.
Joanna Scott: Follow Me: A Novel
A truly lovely novel about family secrets and the unexpected path that life takes us on. I am amazed at what Joanna Scott can pack into one sentence, one paragraph. It is more than I could imagine doing in a whole book. She is a master.
Lionel Shriver: We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.)
There are some books, like Native Son, that you recognize as good but it is difficult to say that you LIKE because they are so utterly disturbing that your heart aches for them. This is how I feel about this book. I see the goodness, but I can't say I liked this book. In fact, reading it was excruciating. (For those who don't know, it is from the point of view of the mother of a school shooter and chronicles his evil life.) On the other hand, I couldn't look away. I can't say I recommend it because the experience is just unpleasant. But on the other hand, it is fascinating. That is all.
Luis Alberto Urrea: Into the Beautiful North: A Novel
I have to admit that I never got into Urrea's other books, although I love the KIND of books he writes. But this one grabbed me from the start and did not let go. He is able to find beauty in ugliness in a way that I really admire.
Lucinda Rosenfeld: I'm So Happy for You: A novel about best friends
This is one of those books that as I was reading it, I was thinking: "why aren't I smart enough to write like this?" She's able to balance really lovely writing with a very relatable plot. I mean, there is an almost-too-real quality to this one that made me have to look away. And yet, you can't. Because all of her characters are so great and in so much trouble that you must, must, must know what happens to them.
Michael Connelly: The Scarecrow
Such a good read. Michael Connelly is able to weave together an amazing (and super intelligent) plot with the decline of the newspaper industry and a creepy cyberstalker. There's even a bit of a love story. Something for everyone. Read this one. For real.
Patrick Somerville: The Cradle: A Novel
Really admired this novel that is so brief and yet brimming with so much.
Tess Callahan: April & Oliver: A Novel
What a moving and suspenseful story of relationships and how childhood mistakes/experiences can influence one's adult life. And the ending is just gorgeous. This is not a story for the faint of heart though, it's as much about love as it is about violence and also about where the two converge. I adored it and am about to read it again because there is a symmetry to the story that I think would do well for a second reading.
- George Pelecanos: The Way Home
Am constantly amazed by the depth of Pelecanos' writing. His characters are so real, their dilemmas so relatable. Anyone who has had a child who has ever gotten in any trouble will relate to the parents in this novel. And any person who has ever given their parents any grief will relate as well. SO, anyone who is a child of parents or a parent of a child should read this. (That means everyone, right?)